11 Little Changes That’ll Make a Big Difference In Your Running

Susan Donnelly running strong in the Smokies.

It’s peak race season and I thought you could use a few easy-to-digest tips to make your races better, and your life easier. 

Pick a couple that will help the most, and give them a whirl:

  1. Eradicate “can’t.” Can’t is helpless talk. Catch it before it comes out of your mouth. Change it to “could,” “will,” “can,” or “choose not to.”

  2. Relentlessly log evidence of success. It’s there, your brain just selectively chooses to see the negative stuff so you'll get discouraged, give up and stay safe at home instead of doing crazy running things. Keep a running list of big and tiny successes, and watch it grow.

  3. Sift facts from truths. Facts are provable in a court of law - “I have run 65 miles.” Truths seem like facts but are really opinions - “I'm tired and I can’t run any further.” Stick to the facts and consider your options from there.

  4. Be grateful for your imperfection. It makes you human, and your life interesting. If you were perfect all the time, there'd be nothing left to try, strive for, get better at, or perfect, and no excitement because there’d be no chance of failure. Life would be a snooze.

  5. Manage your energy - all of it. You don’t just use physical energy to run races. It takes mental, emotional, and yes, spiritual energy too. Be sure you’re not leaking, say, a ton of emotional energy worrying obsessively about finishing. Chill before that wears you out.

  6. Capitalize on strengths instead of fixing weaknesses. You'll get more bang for your running buck if you know your strengths and use them to your advantage instead of trying to whittle tiny gains from your weaknesses...and hating it. 

  7. Get curious. One of the easiest antidotes to fear and worry. “I wonder what it would be like to do that big, scary race.” “I've done 50 miles...could I double it and do 100?” And my favorite...“what’s around that corner in the trail?”

  8. Be awed by what you can do. How many of your friends, extended family members, classmates, or co-workers run the things you do? If your friends are all ultrarunners, it’s easy to lose sight of just how unique you are in the big, wide world. You’re amazing!

  9. If you must compare, compare yourself to when you started. We live in the gradual changes that happen daily over time, and sometimes forget just how far we've really come. Celebrate it!

  10. Think of failures as “one step closer to success.” You probably didn’t walk perfectly the first time you tried as a baby, and you’ve doubtless fallen once or twice since then. Does that mean you should give up walking?

  11. Quit telling gloomy stories about the future. You can’t predict it and you don’t know how it'll turn out yet. Everything's possible at this point.

One caution - don’t try these all, all at once.

The secret to little mindset shifts like these is that you’re much more likely to build them into strong, sustainable new habits if you do one or two consistently than if you try to do a bunch at once.

Try a few and see the difference they make!

Susan Donnelly’s signature

PS - The popular Pick My Brain sessions are here! These single, one-hour, 1:1 sessions are super easy to schedule and don’t break the bank. The one place for all your questions - answers, how-to advice, help making a decision, trouble-shooting a problem, confidence boost before a race or a sounding board - get quick, focused help where you need it.